Thursday, 16 April 2009

Hair Politics: Henna and curl loosening (a looong post)

*******Edit - 17/04/2009 - Please read the comments they represent many points of views and are all very poignant - Thanks all *******

So Naturally Leslie (see her very fab blog) asked.................... "So I was just wondering...if people begin to Henna specifically for the gravity or weighing down effect to loosen their curl pattern, can they still be considered natural???

This might be controversial for some people but the thought just crossed my mind. I read your other post about Lawsone being chemical and just wondered what you thought.

I know people henna for different reasons and some people experience the loosening effect even though it is more of a side effect, not goal. From the comments I read on some blogs, fotkis, etc I get the feeling that if some women could loosen (i.e. change) their curl pattern they would but they don't want the stigma of a chemical treatment(texturizer/silkener) to do so. Some people, even though they're natural, have not really accepted their natural texture and this idea of henna loosening the curl is appealing to them. What do you think about this?"

My eyes suddenly opened just a little wider. Let me first declare (again lol) I am a scientist and I love chemicals. Henna is a chemical treatment as is any semi permanent or permanent hair dye. I think some people are uncomfortable because the word chemical because it only means 'relaxer' but scientifically, many things are chemicals.

I do however draw my own personal line in the sand. I think that coloured hair is just coloured hair. A natural with Henna or any other hair colour is still a natural. The danger to me is when we choose to draw up boundaries, where would it end, who owns the definition? Hair conditioner deposits chemicals on the hair strand to allow the hair to feel soft, does this mean we shouldn't condition? Coconut oil penetrates into hair and helps to moisturise hair, does this mean we shouldn't moisturise? The greatest chemical of all, water (uh huh - I called it a chemical!), also helps to moisturise hair and is the greatest component in many hair products, should we not use it?

I completely agree that many women do still struggle with accepting their hair texture and the issues of curl worship are very very painfully real. I know the feathers will fly but I don't agree that the loosening effect is treated as a side effect, it is one of the top reasons alongside hair strand thickening to use Henna on many blogs/fotkis/forums. It is one of the top reasons because our curls are still seen as in 'need of loosening'. Why? I think that this is mostly because women want their hair to look as long as possible. Curly hair looks shorter, and the female aesthetic need is generally longer hair (looser curl=longer hair). Can you see the hair ad - longer, fuller, luscious, shiny beautiful hair.........from Pantene erm sorry Henna.

Jokes aside, I don't however think that Henna could ever drammatically transform anyone's hair texture for example I don't think anyone could go from type 4 hair to type 3 (if you care for the typing system). I definitely think that those with looser curls and fine hair are definitely the ones who should be worried as this combination may lead to losing your curls. I found a funny article to attest to this (DISCLAIMER : Please note that I disagree with 95-98% of this article especially turpentine on hair -which will not work).

I think that the farther we stray from natural hair, the more problems we experience. At the same time I recognise that people need to have fun and part of this is experimenting, styling, colouring and straightening. I know that I wouldn't be natural today without my relaxing experience. These are my rules

1. Everyone's journey is different, but ultimately before you jump in to try a technique, arm yourself with knowledge. See the benefits and disadvantages, would you do this to your mother or your best friend?

2. Don't try and copy the experience of someone who doesn't have your hair texture. Modify it for your own texture.

3. Learn what your hair likes and dislikes. Even if someone has your texture, they don't necessarily have your genes, your diet, your exercise schedule, your weather etc.

The floor is open to you. What do you think? Is Henna the curl loosening devil or a diamond in the rough for you? Why do you use/ will you not use Henna?

59 comments:

  1. I sooo agree with this post. Especially the chemical stuff. Almost everything is a chemical of some sort. Like you said, my most favorite chemical is water!

    I do not think henna is the curl loosening devil. It is a diamond in the rough for me. I have 4ish hair and, I don't know, for me it did loosen a lil but it wasn't like I have 3b hair or even 3c. Ya know?

    I think people take it too.... I can't think of the word. Besides I don't see what's wrong with if you want to loosen it some, you are able to moisturize your hair a lil better which is healthier hair. What's wrong with that? 4 hair can be very dry and if something helps loosen that curl so the oil can travel down our hair shafts a lil better, what's the problem? That's less breakage and more hair on your head.

    I don't know. It is what it is. I guess I just have an "it's just hair" attitude. But henna's not the devil. If you don't like it, that's fine and you don't have to use it. But don't make other people feel bad for using it no matter what they're reasons are. For some it's just a more natural way of caring for and/or possibly altering your hair's curl pattern.

    But it doesn't make you any less natural. There's not a relaxer in your hair so you are still a natural.

    Thanks for posting this!

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  2. this is DEEP! PREACH girl! i get so sick of people pissin' their pants because their curls/napps got looser. naturally leslie is right! people just be on their hustle, tryna find a magical hair loosener. it's so sad. it really disgusts me.

    black women STILL, STILL... EVEN after becoming natural, STILL have "loose texture worship."

    *sigh*

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  3. Great Post!! I'm still on the fence about Henna. I've been gathering information over the past couple of weeks to see if it's right for my hair...I've heard of the loosening of curl syndrome, which I want to avoid at all costs...I've had heat damage in the past and now treasure my coils! I think that would be my biggest disapointment if I did do a treatment. If I were to henna I'd want to essentially strengthen my hair, and have it well conditioned...basically healthy!! That's been my ultimate goal since late last year. Baby steps though...I was thinking of doing a Henna Gloss...(is this the same thing?)

    quick question: Is the possible loosening of the curl temporary? For example...would your hair return to it's normal state after one wash?

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    1. Chai I use Henna and reading this post I didn't know it was a chemical I guess u learn something new everyday...mines just say 100%Henna I get minds from and India store I don't get the kind that say brown henna black henna because I do believe they may have added something. It has not loosening my curls nor has it change my texture any but it has made it more manageable. I love the added color...

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    2. Henna has loosened my curls some, but not that anyone else would EVER notice. The change is so small. I like to use it once a month as I would a protein treatment. And I think the loosening is temporary.

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  4. Thanks all for contributing!

    Chai, 'if' this effect happens then I don't expect it to be temporary. I'll do another little diagram to illustrate it :)

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  5. I've only used henna for colour, conditioning, and thickening. I didn't know it could change your hair texture.

    I agree with the points you made about conditioners and even water being chemicals. Anything that has molecules is a chemical isn't it? I think some natural things can be harmful, like natural poisons, and many manufactured chemicals are actually derived from natural ingredients, and they can be harmless. So there is good and bad.

    I think that altering curl patterns is highly controversial. I alter my curl pattern by doing braid outs because it makes my hair look longer and bigger. After a braid-out, when I put a little water on my hair, I get a bunch defined little coils. I have a similar look after I wash my hair without a braidout, but it is not as defined or as long. Does that mean I am not natural or accepting my natural curl pattern? I think I am just enhancing it just like combing messy hair is enhancing your hair. I think washing your hair, detangling, and styling your hair in any way is altering it. I'm not such an extremist that I think people who braid, curl, or comb their hair are no longer natural. To be totally natural you would never wash or even touch your hair and I don't think anyone is willing to do that!

    I agree that drawing a line can lead down a slippery slope. In my opinion if you relax or use a chemical process to make your hair permanently straight or less tightly coiled then you are no longer natural. I just don't think henna is the same as those chemical processes. On the other hand, if you colour your hair blonde, red, lighten your hair, or colour your grays then you are not staying true to your natural colour. But I think if it doesn't look unnatural on you then its okay. If it's a colour that is very uncommon on Black people then its less okay. Your hair would still be natural but the colour would not be. I think if we are being true to our African heritage and not trying to conform to European beauty ideals (my goal but not everyone's), colouring your hair blonde is just as much of a rejection of African hair as using a relaxer.

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    1. There are naturally blonde Africans....

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  6. sticky stuff... here's my two cents:

    One of my reasons for going natural was to embrace my kinky hair as it is, and trying to loosen my curls would not help me do that. However, this may not be everyone's reason for going natural, despite the fact that the natural community encourages people to accept themselves as they are, as part of what I'll call the "natural movement". If someone went natural for some other reason, using something other than relaxer or texturiser to loosen their curl pattern wouldn't be going against their natural hair philosophy, even though it may go against ours. I think this is where the battle line is drawn: between people who think aspiring for a looser curl pattern is okay, and others who think it's not. And it really depends on how you look at it: some people would consider obsessive hennaing for looser texture curl worship, others would see it as making their hair easier to deal with. You can actually say the same thing about the permie vs. natural debate, except that the damage done by relaxers can be a lot worse than any possible side effects henna has. In the end, it's a matter of personal preference, and you can't really force your hair philosophy on someone. However, I personally feel that aspiring to get hair that you don't have isn't self-affirming, and I would be concerned about anyone who does henna treatment or other color treatments just for that purpose.

    I am considering trying henna/cassia treatments, but for the shine factor and a healthy scalp (as recommended on BGLH), not the curl loosening effect. My kinks are so stubborn anyway, I doubt they'd do much loosening :)

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  7. Great post and great comment Naturally Leslie :o) Being the natural hair blog junkie that I am - I have noticed people gravitating toward products/treatments that other's have used which resulted in a texture change.

    But I guess we would really never know their reasoning behind doing this - are they really not comfortable with their own texture or are they just simply doing it for style purposes?

    For me I love trying out new products/treatments for the purpose of changing up my style - I like the idea that I can put a product in my hair and it will become super curly so I can sport a wash -n-go type style one day and then go back to my kinky puff the next.

    I also love the definition my hair gets from wearing two-strands - then unravelling for twist-outs, I can also braid or cornrow my hair and leave it in for a day or two and when I unbraid it - it will look as though it has been blow dried, I also like that look as well, but I guess none of these things are permanent.

    So, I like the fact that my natural hair is so versatile and can 'mimic' for lack of a better word different textures.

    As far as henna is concerned -I was attracted to the idea that it would thicken my hair - I would like to be able to wear some bigger twists without so many holes (scalp showing).

    When I learned that it may loosen my curl pattern I became hesitant - I love the look of thick, tight coils in a puff :o) I wondered if I would lose that look if I started using henna, or will my hair just thicken up a bit?

    I decided that I would give it a try one of these days - just out of plain curiousity. If I experience any dramatic change in texture I could live with it, if not I can cut and start again :o)

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  8. Some people say that the henna loosening is temporary and goes pretty much to normal after a month or two of not henna-ing anymore. Also, there's a pretty big thread on the 4a forum of naturallycurly.com that seems to prove that adding a 1:1 ratio or so of amla powder to henna stops the curl loosening effect of the henna.

    Btw, it seems that henna more readily loosens hair that tends to have small wavies than like a tight coil, or if you have fine strands that are weighed down easily. For example, I've done henna 2 times so far and the back section which is the loosest and is a borderline 3c/4a pattern loosened *more* which I really hated because it looked longer than the rest of my hair which has 4a coils. I decided to stop hennaing for awhile to see what happened and it seemed the effect of the henna has lessened a bit in that back section. However, I've only done it twice... I'm sure it may be different than someone who's done it dozens of times.

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  9. Most people experience loosening of curl only after they've had many applications and a build up of henna on the hair.

    Adding a little amla to your henna treatment can often cancel out or at least lessen the effect. It also makes the color a little cooler, so if you're going for bright red highlights, don't do it.

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  10. I don't think this is a controversial issue at all. I believe black women can do whatever they want to with their hair...why should I judge another woman's choice? I think a controversial issue would be when a black woman wears her hair in its natural state and her boss objects it, then that's controversial. I have been natural for 9 years (doing 98% wash and go) and my hair is constantly a different length and it just depends what products I put in it, some elongate it tremendously and some don't. When I do a twist out on already dry hair, my hair can be twice as long and the curls become more wavy...and clearly my texture is looser with that hairstyle, and I guess that is "my magical loosener" and sadly might disgust some people but I wouldn't care because it's my hair. Whether or not a woman uses henna to loosen her hair is insignificant...as we all add different products to our hair to achieve a certain result, whether it is longer, looser, stronger, bigger or shinier hair. My hair is very similar to curlynikki's prior to her henna days and my strands and very fine and can break easily, so henna might be good for me in order to get that big hair that I sooo adore. My only deterrents are: I have brown hair with some natural blond highlights and it's always been my thing since I was a kid, so I am scared more of the unpredictable hair color from henna, certainly not the loosening effects. Also the time commitment, as I said I am a wash and go kind of girl, I don't like the idea of my hair being a chore. From all the fotkis and blogs that I have seen with women using henna, I think the results are astonishing, maybe one day, though unlikely, I may henna.

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  11. I have done one henna treatment so far and I actually plan to do another one today. I did my research about henna and came across the loosening effect, which as I understood it, was not to be expected or discounted. That is, it might or might not happen.

    I decided to henna for the thickening, conditioning effects. The "bang" area of my hair is wavy while the rest of my hair is curly/coily. This area of my hair should annoy me but I don't let it. In the same way that I don't try to fight shrinkage.

    When I decided to henna, I was fearful of the effect it would have on my trouble spot but to my delight it actually made my wavy hair curly and defined! YAY! Now my hair looks more uniformed which is a change I welcome.

    The point of this rambling is this: If henna loosened my hair I would still use it. I see NOTHING wrong with someone welcoming that effect. I'm not sure I buy the idea of loose curl worship. Some of the most gorgeous hair I drool over is tightly curled/coily hair.

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  12. Everything is a chemical. Regardless if your hair is natural, straight, kinky, curly, almost bald... you need to take care of it. If henna provides shine, body, and lustre... why not? People with straight hair need chemical too. I definitely believe the curl loosening affect is JUST a side effect. Heck, there are probably conditioners that will loosen your curl pattern. Just as you put lotion on your skin to condition and protect it and change it's chemical make up. You have to protect your hair. Let's be real. It's not about self hate. Hating your hair would be to let it dry up and fall OUT!

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  13. Let's shift this henna discussion to climatic one. When visiting northern states, I live south, my hair behaves extremely well. My skin is completely different story, it gets very dry. The humidity and frequent rain causes great pains in the form of frizz.
    The frizzier hair is the more it breaks.
    The drier your skin is the more it cracks.
    Women in warmer climates are known for vitality and radiance of their skin, due to proper skin care and moist climate. The climate does another number of kinky and/curly hair. In undergrad I noticed many of my peers from northern states did not get relaxers as early in life as those from warmer climates. I am just connecting the dots, haircare and nutrition also play a huge part in you hair's health and radiance.
    In Louisiana winter is the month of February only. Currently it is 76 degrees F and that is only because it is cloudy with a high chance of rain. After trying henna and noticing less breakage, due to a heck of a lot less frizz, I spread the word with every natural I come across. I am not trying to loosen the curl...I love my hair...a little less than I love being everything that makes it kinky, curly, nappy and silky! Long hair does not matter to me, as long as my hair looks good on me. I think that should be the attitudes of all people, especially women. Many of my natural friends talk about how long they want their hair to grow and I scrutinize their comments reminding them of their face shape, body portion and hair care habits. Your hair has to suit YOU, your beautiful face, unique body and maintenance schedule. If being natural hasn't taught us all that, then what have we learned?

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  14. I'm so glad people commented on this, it's always interesting to hear other people's perspectives. It may have seemed like I was saying if you henna and your curls loosen and you don't mind it then it's self hate. That's not what I was saying at all. What I wondered was if some people do it specifically because they know it will loosen their curl, and they want to loosen their curl because they don't like their natural texture, is that somehow like the mentality many women have for relaxing or texturizing their hair. To be more frank, I think there are some people who want what is stereotypically known as "good hair". And they don't have it. IMO, that is hair envy. I know there are plenty of people who love henna for its benefits and, like I said before, it is something I myself am thinking about trying in the future for those same benefits. I guess it just bothers me to see people not feeling good about what God gave them and wanting something else because they (well we) were conditioned (by fam, media, socieety,etc) to think kinky hair is bad. It is wrong of me to assume that everyone who goes natural completely loves their texture and does not wish their hair was like someone else's. I stretch, blow dry, twist, and braid my hair depending on the look I want. But that is fundamentally different from desiring a different hair texture all together. And in case you can't tell, I am not a "hair is just hair" person. If that were so, why would we have all these blogs, sites, fotkis, etc dedicated to it? Of course on the surface, hair IS just hair, but the socio-political issues it raises for black women are deeper. I think we all know that.
    I hope I don't sound judgmental, people can do what they want to do and that's for sure. But the more comments I saw on blogs and fotkis about wishing for a looser texture, the less I could sit still about it. Maybe I shouldn't care what other people do or want or say. But I do, especially when it comes to self-acceptance for a people who for so long were made to believe they were not beautiful. Thanks for listening!

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  15. If that were the case, couldn't you then argue that anything you do to your hair, henna, bentonite clay (sometimes loosens the curl pattern), twist-outs, banding, etc, is not embracing your hair's true texture? I think you can play with your texture, it still is what it is.

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  16. I noticed the loosening effect of henna the first time I used it. I'm 3C/4A and in some places the henna loosened my curl TOO much. I have the exact same effect when I deep condition with full fat yogurt and raw honey. I had to stop doing it because I was getting limp pieces of hair that looked like the ends were relaxed. I've not had a relaxer in 15 years. But never have I done any of these treatments specifically to loosen my curl pattern. It's pretty loose already in some places. But if other women choose to do that, it's none of my business. Are they still natural? I'd say, Yes.

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  17. This post is right on time for me. I've been thinking about using henna and wondering if using it would make me feel like a hypocrite because I'm so vocal about my definition of natural (original color, original texture). I still haven't completely decided how I feel about it, but I've really enjoyed everyone's comments.

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  18. Temporarily changing your 'texture' for a style is different than attempting to permanently alter your texture to appear to have a looser curl pattern because you think it's better. People shouldn't feel guilty or like they are hypocrites. I guess for me personally I just always try to check my motives and make conscious choices about how
    I present myself because I remember for so long desiring straight long hair, thinking that was what a beautiful woman's hair should be. For me, being natural has set me free from that kind of thinking, thank goodness. I just hope other people can experience that same feeling of liberation (both of the hair and of the mind).

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  19. For me, no truer words were said than the last comment from Leslie. I think I have never felt more comfortable with myself after I released myself from a self imposed prison of what is and isn't good hair. I'm really glad you asked the question :)

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  20. From all the comments that I am reading here and the numerous blogs and forums that I have read over the last few months, I am beginning to realize the importance of hair for different individuals and it has alot to do with that person's personal history. I grew up in a small town in Dominica (caribbean) and we have the only carib indians population left in the world and also alot of mixed people of black, carib and french, thus alot of different hair...But in my family and even my town, we NEVER thought straight hair was superior to curly hair, and even in my family there is a lot of straight long hair individuals, loosely curly ones and kinky curly ones. People with a more kinky hair pattern wore alot of conroes and were complemented on the varied stlyes. It was looked down upon when parents permed their young children hair as most people understood the burns and thinning hair could not be good especially to young children. I don't even know of many people who pressed their hair maybe due to our year round warm weather. I got my first perm at 14 and it was not like everyone embraced the new change (it was more that you shouldn't have done that) and I was always considered beautiful by my peers and family with or without straigt hair...so for me it's just hair and used a a form of self expression meaning you do with it whatever you like and what works best for you and your lifestyle and personal style. I use these forums to learn how to treat and style natural hair better especially since I don't go to the salons, but I do understand that others view natural hair differently from me. And as for self acceptance, to me hair is such a small part of the overall picture. For the first 2 years after the BC I kept my hair about 1 - 2 inches and I felt empowered and liberated and rocked it.

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  21. I think its really easy to have a strong opinion about things like this when you have "good hair". I'm natural, and have been so for over 10 years now. My hair never really held a perm so I just stopped trying to force it to do something that it was clearly fighting me on. But I have thought about getting a relaxer or texturixer MANY times. It's not because I hate my curl pattern. I actually love my texture. But just being realistic: it's difficult hair to have to manage on a daily basis. I have bossy, opinionated hair. We fight battles all the time and I often lose. My hair is super thick- like many people I've broken combs, hair clips, elastics, etc. I've worked up a sweat trying to get it into a ponypuff. Some days we just don't get along and sometimes I think about how nice and easy it would be to work with something more manageable.

    I remember having friends tell me that "if they had my texture" they'd grow their hair out too and you know what- I totally understand. It's not the easiest road to travel. I wouldn't presume that someone has self-acceptance or self-esteem problems if they didn't want to fight that battle. Maybe they do but there are so many other reasons. I go back and forth myself.

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  22. Hello all,

    I have just came accross this page and could not stop reading. This is great information for me (who is still adjusting being natural!) I have on question for you Naturally Leslie, I really want to color my hair I was thinking of henna figuring it was a more healthier than some of the brands that you find over the counter. I have always used a rinse never a permanet color. Do you think henna is healthier vs. the brands on the market today?

    Also, what is the deal with coconut milk and lime? Everyone has told me to try this but I am hesitate. I'm not sure what the deal is with that.

    Thanks Jess

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  23. Sorry the message regarding henna vs. market brand dyes was directed to JC.
    Thanks Jess

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  24. Hi Jess - Thanks for the questions. I'll do a post about them pretty soon :)

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  25. i agree with your entire post jc. i realize that although i am natural, dye contains chemical no matter if it is aveda (there is no bleach or ammonia, but they do use peroxide in a botanical blend). point is it is a chemical. but it has never loosened my texture. in fact it has made my hair frizzy if not properly moisturized. many naturals walk around and act as if they own stock in being natural. if their hair is more tightly textured, they claim superiority. if they never color or straighten they claim superiority. while they where contemplating nappy, i had years in the game but i never claimed to be better. i'm so over them years ago - it's a slippery slope indeed!

    i fear loosening of my curls because on the majority of my head, i don't have very tight curls to begin with. i started using henna to counteract the possible damage from my so-called "natural based color" i figured it would coat any possible stripping as the henna coats the cuticle. i use it every other month. it definitely has increased the shine! it's a henna blend that contains amla so maybe that's why i haven't had a loosened curl effect (phew).

    i'll paraphrase naturally leslie: we have to check our motives in our decision making.

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  26. i know that is late but, what happens to 4a hair if you use henna for about 5 months - every week? what pattern will it look like?

    thanks

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  27. I recommend pregnant women never forget to brush your hair before medicated shampooing in every time. It’s the first step to a hair care routine. Don’t brush hair when it damp. use Herbal Medicated shampoos for essential natural nourishment avoid chemicals for hair care, natural henna color is a good option to color your hair naturally.

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  28. I dont understand... using henna to obtain loose curls because it makes your hair more
    manageable?! HUH??? Isn't that the same thing women say about relaxer? Just wondering.

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  29. I can't help wondering if many ladies with kinky hair are using it to loosen their curl pattern? I write this because of the first reviews of henna which indicated this. Then all of sudden, there is this "henna kick." The henna stain is not as natural looking (in my opinion) as the commercial hair dyes. Since henna is also drying to the hair, why use it on a regular basis? I know it's a "choice", but this is just my opinion.

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  30. Interesting post!

    I wonder if im in the minority - henna does not loosen my kinks -- in fact I see MORE curls than before.. I have used henna at least every 6-8 wks for the last 3 -4 yrs and I have not had any loosening that I can tell. My main reason for using it was to reduce shedding and breakage because I was tired of smelling like a deli whenever I used mayonnaise to deep condition. My hair has more volume and I can feel the increased strength in the hair and detangle without ripping the hair. I have not experienced this loosening that people either gripe about or sing from the rooftops, and I totally dont even care. I enjoy getting some red highlights from the henna, and getting a great boost in strength and moisture-holding capability. If it didnt do those things, I would probably go back to mixing deep conditioners herbs and oils (which I do anyway)..

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  31. Very interesting post, I'm glad I read it!

    I have a 4a hair type and I am not against henna, however I don't want to do it right now. Not to say that I won't in the future!

    It's just that I just bc'd in June so I still have a TWA and I want to get to know MY hair texture for what it is right now. I'm slightly afraid to loosen my curl, I don't know how it would turn out. But I DO want to color my hair. So I do see henna in the future... the very far away future.

    Thanks for the info!

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  32. I have noticed a loosening in my coils, I have a TWA and always in a scarf [hijab]. I have used henna every month for 4months. I am not bothered about all the debates, going natural for me personally was because I couldn't get healthy relaxed hair. I am not into analyzing other women's motives for doing anything to their hair, be it color henna relaxers weaves...whatever, so long as they like it

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  33. I hate my hair texture and I am not ashamed to say that. My texture is not manageable and if there is a product besides relaxers that can loosen my hair, then I say "praise the Lord."

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  34. I love this Henna debate! I am proud to say that I have been natural for 2 years now (4 yrs since my last perm) and I went natural because my hair was damaged.

    Along my natural hair journey and discovering which products and techniques help to manage breakage and maintain moisture, I have found utilizing Henna every 6 weeks for the past 3 months has shown extrmeley positive results!

    I love my natural curls, however, Henna has made me enjoy my curls even more! My curls are not as tight and I LOVE IT!!! My hair has lightend. The breakage has ceased and my hair strands are stronger. Don't knock it til you have tried it for yourself :)

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  35. As I have very coily hair, 4-whatever, I actually welcome that the henna has loosened it. That's not why I decided to use henna, but it helps ward off single-strand knots and makes it makes it a little (little) easier to manage. As long as I can still create a Baaaddd Afro, I don't mind at all! - Norma

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  36. lol to each his own. I have the tiniest, tightest coilest and kinkiest hair and I love them.

    I think that self hate is not good (anon 3rd dec 2010). Life becomes easier when you accept yourself for who you are. You can loosen your curls if you like for whatever reason but it is not a positive to say things like 'I hate my hair texture'. Your hair is not and never will be a mistake.

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  37. I started using henna because I wanted a more natural way to cover the grays that are starting to come in. Fortunately, any change in texture is negligible; even though it feels slightly different, in that it's a bit softer so maybe the curls are a bit looser, my hair is pretty short, so it still looks the same. I'm glad I discovered it (via natural hair blogs and youtube)and can't see myself ever going back to more traditional 'chemical' hair coloring.

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  38. I used henna/indigo for about 8 months and my hair got thicker and the curls started vanishing to "waves". I will be doing another big chop to start over because I love my coily hair. The henna/indigo worked great for the gray coverage, but it's like a double edge sword...your hair grows and grows and you have to henna/indigo more and more because of the grey growth also. I don't like straight hair on me and this just isnt working out.....but to each their own.

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  39. We all have better things to do than run around trying to figure out what constitutes someone as natural. Some people can get a little scary and cult like when it comes to natural hair. But it’s none of anyone’s business what you do. My boss always says, “…if it bothers you, but it doesn’t bother me, why are you bothering me?” Life is too short. Do you. I love my frizzy/curly/coily hair, but if someone told me there was a magical herb out there that would control my frizz; I’d be all over it. And at the end of the day I wouldn’t love myself any more or any less because of it.

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  40. I heard henna was a good conditioning treatment. Lush has a product with indigo, some henna, and cocoa butter. I was going to try that because I think it would be fun to make my black brown hair a bluish black colour from the indigo. If henna would loosen my tight, tight tight coils I DON'T want it. Does just using indigo (I've read of a blogger do this) loosen coils as well?

    As for tight kinky coils being unmanagable: I honestly feel it is a matter of understanding the hair, and building a routine that comes from understanding how this hair texture works. I personally don't see my hair as unmanagable as much as I see the need to self-educate about my own hair.

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  41. Hi Ladies,

    I find it somewhat amusing when someone decides to try and "label" people based on what they find as the "right choice" and what other's should follow. I live with the motto of "Live and let live"! Who am I to decide whether or not someone is being “natural" because first of all how can I define what being natural really is? Unfortunately I am not someone who can just jump out of bed and do absolutely nothing to my hair and walk out of the house. I use water, conditioners, leave-in conditioners, hot oil treatments, and DIY concoctions. So does that mean that I am not natural because all of the above are added or used in my hair at some point so that I PERSONALLY feel happy about the look of my hair. (Before I use to relax my hair but have been “natural” for 4 years now). Everyone is entitled to their opinion and if some would label me as not being natural so be it.

    I only just came cross some information regarding a DIY "coconut cream relaxer". I first of all think that the term “relaxer” was used to freely because it consists of natural products (edible) and does not really relax the hair (otherwise we would basically be consuming poisons if these ingredients had the same affects as chemical relaxers by breaking down the hairs internal structure). But some have said that it can sometimes loosen the tightness of some people hair (depending on your pattern and texture) however it is not going to straighten your hair. This also brought up a similar topic where some were telling people that they "are not comfortable with their curls" and asking why they want to loosen their curl patterns. I say because they want to! It’s not your hair so let them do as they please. All this sort of talk about people not being "really” natural because you put this or that in it has started to make me feel that some people are looking down on other’s and they somehow have become “better” than the rest. I find this sad because, we should be supporting one another regardless of what we want to do to OUR hair. (Just my 2 cents) :D

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  42. i really don't understand why natural hair has to be so complicated. my definition is: hair that is not relaxed. period. i feel all this competition is unnecessary. so what if a natural wanted a "looser" texture. how is that self hate? and i'm not talking about a 4b wishing they were 3b or c. just a little less coily hair that doesn't break the comb! but if i said "i hate my fat rolls. i'm going on a diet and going to start working out to lose weight" people would praise and encourage me. we really are our own worst enemy.

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  43. We all have different opinions and different points of view, it is important to continue to respect other people whether or not they agree or disagree with us :)

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  44. I'm definitely interested in trying henna, but terrified of loosing my naps in the process. If I could be sure that henna wouldn't loosen my kinks, I'd try it in a heartbeat. It took way too much time and energy to get to a point where I adore what my mother gave me to lose it all in one ill-considered move. I might just tell my sister to try it first, then go from there, lol.

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  45. Anon (unposted comment 18/10/2011). This blog is not a forum for making unwarranted and malicious attacks at people who you do not know. You can make your point without resorting to personal attacks.

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  46. This is a great thread, thanks ladies. I henna'd my 4 type hair for the first time 2 weeks ago and I love the color. My motivation was to cover grey hair more healthily. I love the outcome. Honestly, I don't notice any looser curls, perhaps, after the next application. My thoughts on loosening the curl pattern is simply 'Do You'.

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  47. People asking this question are busy bodies. I mean, really. I don't use henna, but anything someone can find to make their hair more manageable and look and feel the way they want, I say, "More power to them." The critics are not going to help you with those 6 hour detangling sessions with your shrunken, tangled hair, where because you don't want to break off your hair, you lose sleep, are late for work and events, etc etc. So the critics should mind their own business.

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  48. Another thing. I have never thought straight hair was more beautiful / superior. I love curly and kinky hair. I love my texture. I just want more of my hair. So if I could find a way to have my hair be stronger, more elastic, less tangly and show length, but look and feel exactly the same, I would do jump on it. So if I have to change the texture slightly to achieve the length and strength I want, I'm fine with that.

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  49. Yawn. So damn tired of this whole natural crap. We all have the right to do whatever we want to our hair whether is permed or natural, don't understand why there has to be a debate on what people want to do with their hair. It's so annoying!

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  50. I say live and let live!!!!! If you want a tight curl pattern great, if you a looser curl pattern wonderful, if you want relaxed terrific,....who are we to judge. Black hair is beautiful period...natural, semi natural, texlaxed, relaxed, texurizer whatever. Do You and don't apologize for it. God made you beautiful!! I love our Diversity as a people!!!

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  51. Is henna safe for use on a kids hair?

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  52. I just started using Henna because it was the only product that would completely cover my gray hairs. I Henna once a month or when i start to see gray roots coming in. Didnt know it did all the other stuff. However, I will not stop using Henna as this is the first product to completely cover my grays.

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  53. I think the whole point is being free to wear your hair however you would like to with out bias.. I have nothing against people who relax..color..henna..or anything else to their hair..It's Theirs..^_^

    I have been planning to try henna for both myself then my daughter(if its ok for me) we both have VERY THICK..Fast Growing.."Spirally" hair which makes for a detangling nightmare. The spirals are small and somewhat tight but conditioned well pretty smooth but it takes forever to do anything to my hair and while I do not want it totally straight I would love to have a way to do my hair in shorter time. I have 4children and a small business I just don't want nor have the time to spend doing my hair...

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  54. I have a loose "curl" pattern with more waves than curls- maybe a 3a/2c- almost straight in some places- especially the middle of my head. Although my hair is very dense, the individual strands are very fine and my hair splits easily, so I don't use any flat irons or curling irons to style my natural hair. I'm also doing a long term transition, so I'm not going to do a big chop. I've been thinking about trying henna for a while now to thicken up my hair strands but I'm terrified of losing the little bit of curls that I already have. I think I will try it with Amla as I've heard that can prevent the curl loosening effects.

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